We started solids with Ever shortly after she turned six months old. She was obviously ready. She had been grabbing at our food and watching us eat and drink with awe for quite some time, but we wanted to wait until six months anyway.
I've quite enjoyed the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding for the past six months (such as weight loss, and natural birth control, to name a couple ;)), and breastmilk will continue to be her main source of calories/food. Beginning solids is simply a way of teaching a baby how to eat like a human, getting them used to different flavors and textures.
So the term "baby led weaning" is a little confusing. It's not really weaning, but instead adding complementing foods in addition to breast milk or formula.
We decided to do Baby Led Weaning because I felt like that is what would work best for us. I loved the whole philosophy behind it. I wanted Ever to be able to control what was going into her mouth, how it was going in, and how much was going in. Because she was grabbing at our food so much, I knew she would have no problem grabbing her own food and putting it in her mouth. Some babies will smack the food around instead of putting it in their mouth, and that's fine. It's all a learning experience, eventually they will grab it and eat it.
One thing that scared me about BLW was the fact that she could easily choke on the big pieces. So we educated ourselves on the baby heimlich and after researching it more I came to realize that's truly the best way to go. Sucking is instinct for a baby, but chewing is not, it has to be learned. When I baby is offered a spoon full of purée, she sucks the food off the spoon. If a baby is offered a larger piece of food, she will learn how to chew. And if the baby is breastfed, she'll already have the jaw strength to chew. I also read that making exaggerated chewing motions will help the baby know what to do.
So, for us, BLW works great! But I understand it's not for everyone. I put the little pieces of avocado on her Yeah Baby Goods mat and she grabs them right away and starts stuffing them in her mouth. I have no idea how much she's actually ingesting, but that's not the point. It's baby led. She gets to control how much she eats. I don't have to worry is she's "getting enough" because, one, that's not her main source of calories, and, two, she decides how much is enough. I'm not traumatizing her by forcing her to eat something. And I hope that, because of this, in the long run she will have a positive relationship with food.
I also chose avocado to start out with because I never liked the idea of rice cereal, and avocado is low in sugar, but it doesn't have a strong flavor. its also slippery and harder to choke on.
Also also, this washable silicone mat from Yeah Baby Goods fits perfectly on the IKEA Antilop high chair, and you can use my code MORGAN15 for 15% off all high chair accessories!